The boss of Jet2 blasted ‘woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced’ airports for the ongoing chaos faced by holiday-makers.
As it reported losses of ?388.8million, the package holiday provider criticised suppliers and airport management for their ‘inexcusable’ failure to return to normal operations post-Covid.
Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson said ‘atrocious customer service’ meant passengers were subjected to ‘a very much poorer experience’ than should be the case.
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Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson (pictured) said ‘atrocious customer service’ meant passengers were subjected to ‘a very much poorer experience’ than should be the case
Shares slumped 11.9 per cent, or 106p, to 783.8p yesterday.
Holidaymakers and business travellers have been hit by flight delays, cancellations, long queues, baggage handling problems, and a lack of on-board catering supplies since the end of Covid restrictions.
British Airways this week cancelled another 10,300 flights to European hotspots this summer.
Industry analysis suggests the carrier – once known as ‘the world’s favourite airline’ – has axed 34,000 flights since January, affecting about 5.6million passengers.
Heathrow Airport last month asked airlines to cancel flights because it was unable to cope with demand. At the same time, Gatwick has reduced flights over the summer due to staff shortages.
Meeson, who set up Jet2 in 2002 and launched its holiday firm five years later, said: ‘We have been directly impacted by the broader disruption seen across the aviation sector and its supply chains.
Many suppliers have been woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced for the volume of customers they could reasonably expect.
‘This difficult return to normal operations has occurred simply because of the lack of planning, preparedness and unwillingness to invest by many airports and associated suppliers.’
The comments came as Jet2 – which flies from airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Stansted – said losses in the 12 months to the end of March widened from ?369.9million to ?388.8million.
The slump came despite revenues more than trebling from ?395.4million to ?1.2billion.
The company said average prices of its package holidays rose 2 per cent to ?689, after hotels slashed costs the previous year, but said prices are likely to come under pressure this year as the cost-of-living crisis affects consumer spending.
Meeson said performance in the current year ‘very much depends on how quickly the broader aviation sector returns to some level of stability, as well as strength of bookings for the remainder of Summer and the second half of the financial year, a period for which we still have limited visibility’.
Julie Palmer, a partner at corporate restructuring business Begbies Traynor, said: ‘2022 was meant to be a bumper year for the travel sector but results from Jet2 have laid bare the cocktail of issues hammering the industry.
Widespread staff shortages are causing awful airport delays, meaning late bookings are down as would-be holidaymakers hold off on last-minute breaks for fear of being caught up in the chaos.
‘Throw in rampant inflation, which is holding down consumer confidence, and the summer’s not looking so bright for travel companies.’